North Okanagan orchardists have an opportunity to salvage some profit from the damage caused by a recent hail storm.
“It’s disastrous for the growers, but not all is lost. The imperfect fruit still growing on the trees can be turned into juice,” said Kristen Trovato, of Mobile Juicing.
“For instance, the apples that have superficial damage from the hail will grow imperfectly, but will still make delicious juice. And we do it right on site at the orchard.”
For Melissa Dobernigg the impact of the hail is felt on their third-generation farm in the BX. The plan is to make substantially more juice this year.
“This year, the hail was early enough that the fruit will continue to develop with sugar and flavour, so will be great for cider and juice,” she said.
Dobernigg who has a cidery on the farm, likes to offer customers a non-alcoholic option as well.
“The demand for juice is there.”
The timing is right for Mobile Juicing, which is expanding its apple juicing service to include cherries and berries.
“With the addition of the de-stoner, belt press and bottle filler, we can process cherries and berries for juice, cider, spirits or wine,” said Trovato.
Trovato and her husband Remo are now into their third season of the onsite juicing business, Mobilejuicing.com.
“We found ourselves busy in the apple season and wondered how we could extend our services right through the summer,” she said.
“We listened to the farmers’ requests and added the de-stoner and belt press to allow for cherries and berries.”
In processing the juice, the fruit is pre-washed, pitted if necessary and seeds and stems are safely removed. The mash is then put into tanks for enzyme treatment, which separates the juice from the pulp.
The juice is then pumped again through the filter and pasteurizer and on to the packaging system. Cherries, blueberries raspberries and cranberries are some of the fruits that can juiced.
It’s a win win for both the Trovatos and the orchardists.
Not only does it extend their season, it allows orchardists more product for their customers — product, that would otherwise be discarded.
“We do more than juice, we can also puree for schnapps, baby food, whatever people desire,” said Trovato.